Breaking Bad And The Walking Dead Left An Impression On Jujutsu Kaisen's Anime Adaptation

After a successful box office run, "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" is now streaming on Crunchyroll. The film serves as a prequel to "Jujutsu Kaisen," which is headed towards its second season after an acclaimed freshman outing. Both projects are engaging, brutal pieces of anime that have been propelled into popularity by their tight writing and jaw-dropping animation. "Jujutsu Kaisen" is able to keep its audience glued to the screen on a weekly basis, while the movie adaptation delivers a more contained experience that could serve as an introduction to the world Itadori and his friends inhabit.

Shockingly enough, the writer behind "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" has revealed that the anime adaptation is actually inspired by two seminal pieces of live-action television. One may not think of "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead" when watching Jujutsu Sorcerers battle Curses for the fate of the world, but the people behind the anime certainly did. Despite the evident differences between the shows, there is a common denominator that has helped the "Jujutsu Kaisen" adaptation maintain its dramatic footing.

Creating a crescendo

In an interview with Crunchyroll, screenwriter Hiroshi Seko spoke about the creative process for both the movie and the television series. According to Seko, his approach toward the different mediums remains mostly the same, but notes that a 24-episode season requires consistent build-up and payoff to keep viewers engaged every week:

"It's about the same. In a feature film, you have to create undulation in the story so that's one difficulty we faced. In television, there are 24 episodes, so you always have to pay attention to the purpose that each episode serves in the series. I always think about the theme for each episode. Of course, since it's a series, you try to create a crescendo at the end of each episode so people want to watch the next episode. I love watching overseas dramas like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, two shows I drew inspiration from."

Like "Breaking Bad" or "The Walking Dead," "Jujutsu Kaisen" has the innate ability to draw audiences into its narrative through deliberate pacing and perfectly-timed story beats. As an action-heavy series, it has no problem arriving at climactic battles and setting up more to come when the credits roll each episode. In "Jujutsu Kaisen 0," the up and down nature of the feature-length film differs from an episode of television, but it borrows the formula to fill out the narrative.

Building intrigue

There is a bevy of reasons why shows like "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead" garner high praise and unparalleled fandom, but their commitment to keeping us on the edge of our seats every week remains a key factor. "Jujutsu Kaisen" is inherently built for this, separating its overarching narrative with smaller, yet vital story arcs that require setup and execution. The same could be said for a good deal of anime: however, "Jujutsu Kaisen" manages to balance this act with different tones, not unlike the shows mentioned by Seko. 

The film does this as well, completing each act like an episode of the anime, but connecting to the overall theme by the end. In fact, if we want to be more literal with the comparison, "Jujutsu Kaisen 0" could be considered the "Better Call Saul" of that universe. After all, it features a protagonist that will become vital to the overarching storyline of its sequel series (that came out before it). 

With a feature-length film and TV adaptation under its belt, "Jujutsu Kaisen" will look to expand its domain in the upcoming second season, which will follow up on the mysterious ending of the prequel.